MESOP REPORT : “THE FINAL DAYS OF ALEPPO” – “What’s Happening Now is Annihilation”

24 Sept 2016 – By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – Almost 100 people were killed in and near Syria’s largest city Aleppo on Friday, in the most intense pro-Assad bombing in months.The White Helmets civil defense organization said 97 people had died, and at least 40 buildings destroyed. The Local Coordination Committee documented 94 fatalities, including 23 children and 9 women.

Among the targets were White Helmets centers, with three of the four in the city struck and two put out of service. One rescuer was killed.The attacks reportedly included incendiary bombs, designed to start fires which are hard to extinguish.  “What’s happening now is annihilation,” said Ammar al-Selmo, the head of civil defense in the city. “It is like doomsday today in Aleppo.”

He noted that the attacking warplanes were Russian, despite Moscow’s supposed commitment to restore a short-lived ceasefire.

“Can you hear it? The neighborhood is getting hit right now by missiles. We can hear the planes right now,” Mohammad Abu Rajab, a radiologist, said. “The planes are not leaving the sky, helicopters, barrel bombs, warplanes.”

With the strikes damaging a pumping station, water was cut off to almost two million people in both opposition and regime areas of the city, according to the UN’s agency for children, UNICEF. The ceasefire was ended on Monday by the Syrian military. Hours later, Russian and regime strike aircraft and helicopters attacked a UN aid convoy, an incident witnessed by al-Selmo.Since then, the pro-Assad bombing of Aleppo city has been renewed, in its most intense phase since early 2016. More than 50 people were killed on Thursday in near-constant raids before Friday’s assault.

Video showed rescuers retrieving bodies and, in a rare moment of hope amid the carnage, saving a baby from the rubble.

Lavrov Dismisses “Senseless” Measures to Stop Bombing

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met briefly on Friday but there was no sign of any progress from the meeting.

Lavrov has supported the Assad regime’s rejection of a demand by Kerry, made on Wednesday at the UN Security Council, that Russian and regime warplanes cease flights over areas of humanitarian needs.

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Minister dismissed any measures as “senseless” until rebels were “separated” from the jihadists of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra:

The refusal or inability to do that under the current circumstances cannot but strengthen suspicion that some wants to protect Jabhat al-Nusra and the regime change plans still exist, which is the grossest violation of the UN Security Council resolution.

Russian State media reinforced the message by highlighting the gratitude of Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem for Moscow’s airstrikes, following a meeting with Lavrov: “It is a very important operation in the fight against terrorism. We appreciate Russia’s participation in it. We are grateful to the people and leadership of Russia.”

Kerry has not publicly responded to the rejection of his call to stop the aerial attacks.

However, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault asked, “Will we be inured to this? Let’s not let Aleppo become the 21st-century Guernica.”

Guernica was a small Spanish village destroyed by German warplanes in April 1937. Commemorated in a painting by Pablo Picasso, the incident is a symbol for international inaction in the face of the mass killing of civilians.